New Exhibition Showcases Meryl Meisler’s Remarkable Lower East Side Photos From the 1970s & 1980s

Morris Katz after a mugging  administered by two kids who found him dozing in his living room. Courtesy: �����Meryl Meisler ?The Storefront Project & Steven Kasher Gallery.  ������� � �������� �� ��� ���������� ������� � ������ ������ �������

Morris Katz after a mugging administered by two kids who found him dozing in his living room in 1978. Courtesy: Meryl Meisler / The Storefront Project & Steven Kasher Gallery.

The prolific New York City photographer, Meryl Meisler, has teamed up with The Storefront Project to present, “LES YES,” photographs of the Lower East Side during the 1970s and 1980s. The exhibition, part of LES History Month, opens Thursday evening, May 3.

In 1976, Meisler was on her way to an art show at Henry Street Settlement when she met Morris Katz, an eccentric elderly gentleman who called himself the “Mayor of Grand Street.” He was handing out lollipops to people on the street, and offered Meisler one. She then visited him in his apartment, which was like a museum, and began to accompany him on his rounds throughout the neighborhood. The two became close friends.

Meisler was documenting Jewish New York in these years for the American Jewish Congress. The images in the new exhibition represent both the great diversity of the neighborhood, as well as the danger and despair that defined downtown throughout the era.

This Thursday’s opening reception takes place from 6-9 p.m. at The Storefront Project, 70 Orchard St. The show will be open through June 3. Here’s the Facebook invite. There will be artist talk on May 12.

On the Bowery, 1977.

On the Bowery, 1977.  Courtesy: Meryl Meisler / The Storefront Project & Steven Kasher Gallery.

Essex Street Market, 1978. Courtesy: Meryl Meisler ?The Storefront Project & Steven Kasher Gallery.

Essex Street Market, 1978. Courtesy: Meryl Meisler / The Storefront Project & Steven Kasher Gallery.

Lower East Side street festival, 1978. Courtesy: Meryl Meisler / The Storefront Project & Steven Kasher Gallery.

Lower East Side street festival, 1978. Courtesy: Meryl Meisler / The Storefront Project & Steven Kasher Gallery.

LES street festival, 1978. Courtesy: Meryl Meisler / The Storefront Project & Steven Kasher Gallery.

LES street festival, 1978. Courtesy: Meryl Meisler / The Storefront Project & Steven Kasher Gallery.

Man on a park bench, May 1977. Courtesy: Meryl Meisler / The Storefront Project & Steven Kasher Gallery.

Man on a park bench, May 1977. Courtesy: Meryl Meisler / The Storefront Project & Steven Kasher Gallery.

Meisler's mother at Sammy's Roumanian, 1977.  Courtesy: Meryl Meisler / The Storefront Project & Steven Kasher Gallery.

Meisler’s mother at Sammy’s Roumanian, 1977. Courtesy: Meryl Meisler / The Storefront Project & Steven Kasher Gallery.

Katz and Meisler outside his apartment, 1985. Courtesy: Meryl Meisler / The Storefront Project & Steven Kasher Gallery.

Katz and Meisler outside his apartment, 1985. Courtesy: Meryl Meisler / The Storefront Project & Steven Kasher Gallery.